Into The Weird, Wild Woods of Eaux Claires
    • WEDNESDAY, JULY 15, 2015

    • Posted by: David Pitz

    This weekend Baeble will embark on an unknown musical adventure to the bucolic countryside and weird, wild woods of Wisconsin. Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National)'s Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival awaits. What will we find? We'll have to tell you on the other side of this thing...the whole weekend seems shrouded in a campfire cloud of mystery. But snippets of multi-media releases over the past few months suggest something unique, something intimate, something extremely well thought out, and perhaps most importantly, something that bucks the typical trends of the North American Festival industrial complex.

    "Every fucking festival is regurgitated, from the headliners on down. Rosters are created with dollar signs, nothing is ever thought out lovingly." That is how Josh Scott, singer of the dreamy, electronic-folk outfit Aero Flynn, who play the festival Saturday afternoon, explains the state of the modern day music festival. Scott has known Vernon for years, sharing Wisconsin roots and a band member or two over the years. "I vividly remember early conversations and wet dreams about Eaux Claires... they [Vernon and Dessner] literally have had their fingerprints on every fabric of this fucker. Even as of this interview, I'm seeing Vern still conceptualizing the experience he so wants to share to the public; this region, its people, its history...its beauty."

    That beauty starts with the line-up; "a diverse, bizarre group of acts and expression", according to Vernon. In an interview with The Star Tribune, Vernon describes the line-up as "selfish." "I vaguely just picked a diverse cross section of my favorite music - my favorite live music, specifically". We're looking forward to Minneapolis Hip Hop, courtesy of our fun-loving friends Doomtree (check out the recent Garage Gig we shared), sugary-sweet soul from the one, the only Charles Bradley, the folky super-star presence from Sufjan Stevens, classic country crooning from Sturgill Simpson, some sweaty basement metal from Brooklyn's Liturgy, a late night set from the festival's only electronic producer, Boys Noize, and f*ckin' Spoon, plowing through their painfully perfect songs. Even the Indigo Girls will be performing their classic, 1994 album Swamp Ophelia, front to back...Vernon's favorite album of all time.

    Dessner also contributed acts to the lineup, including rousing Brooklyn Folk outfit (and perennial Baeble fav), The Lone Bellow. We recently traded emails with band leader Zach Williams. "As a touring artist, you have the opportunity to experience the gamut of festivals. A festival curated from the artist's perspective is the dream. Taking all good things from each festival and funneling them down into one cohesive environment. They also seem to have a clear creative hope for what could happen."

    What will happen? Well, headlining sets from both The National and Bon Iver, of course. In conversation with local rock scribe Steven Hyden for ESPN's Sports and Culture site Grantland, Vernon was quick to dispel any idea that he was reviving Bon Iver for the first time in 3 years for anything more than this particular show. "As far as putting a record together, I don't really know what's happening", Vernon told Hyden. "Our show is our main focus...Play the show and put all of our energy into one show for once in our life, let's just play one fucking show".

    Elsewhere throughout the bill, expect the unexpected. "Secrets...shhhh." That's about all we could get out of Scott, when asked about what surprises he and the rest of his Aero Flynn brethren have in store. "It's gonna be like summer camp", he later told us. "Every band seems to have some connection to the next. This Utopian idea enables a safe haven for fellow musicians and artists to explore themselves, either in their own element or maybe (preferably??) out of their element. Collaboration is downright encouraged here... there are no restrictions."

    And so we are what is really starting to sound like an idyllic, musical mecca of sorts. This will not be Coachella, this will not be Governor's Ball, Bonnaroo, Firefly, or Lollapalooza. Eaux Claires will be it's own magical, musical animal...or at least that's what we're hoping for.

    Tickets are still available. Pick them up HERE. If you're going, be sure to download the official Eaux Claires App, available HERE. It's a good one.

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